No. 5 Mount Everett girls fall to No. 1 Monson in Western Mass. Division IV semifinals
AMHERST — It's rough to have one bad quarter in a playoff basketball game. It's rougher when it was a quarter like the one Mount Everett had on Tuesday night.
The Eagles had more turnovers (eight) than points (five), while top-seeded Monson outscored the No. 5 Eagles by 15 in the second quarter and hung on for a 58-44 win in a Western Massachusetts Division IV semifinal game at Curry Hicks Cage.
The Eagles scored only one hoop and three free throws in the quarter. The basket was made by Marion Devoti off of one of six assists by Gwen Carpenter. Carpenter, however, was held to 13 points in the game, and made only 3 baskets.
"It killed us," Everett coach Scott Rote said. "Everything that we scouted on these guys — we saw the tape of the Lenox game, we saw the tape of the Drury game that they had — we knew they were big. We were preparing for them on the inside and defensively take care of stuff there.
"We didn't think they were going to start lighting it up from the outside. Even when we got a hand in their face, they hit a shot."
It was a rematch of a game played on Dec. 15, when Monson beat Mount Everet 62-44, behind 22 points from Kaitlyn Santos. Santos had 18 points in the semifinal, but freshman Sydnie DeVries finished with a game-high 19 points, two blocks and several other shots disturbed and six rebounds.
Carpenter and Madeline VonRuden each had 13 points for the Eagles (13-10), while Madison Ullrich had 10 points and eight rebounds.
"We just weren't moving and we were kind of standing still on offense and forcing things," Carpenter said. "It's frustrating, but we couldn't get down on ourselves. I think the third quarter went a little better."
The Eagles actually outscored the Mustangs (15-7) by one point in the second half and cut the lead to 10 points with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter, but a put-back hoop by Shannon Jalbert extended the lead and the Eagles could not catch up.
"It's hard," said Rote. "They're big. They're athletic. They're well-coached and a well-schooled team."
VonRuden's second basket of the first quarter tied the game at 9 as the horn sounded. It was a rocky quarter for both teams as the Eagles made four baskets and the Mustangs made three. Everett had 10 turnovers in the first quarter and Monson had nine.
But in the second, the top seeds ran off a quarter-opening, 13-2 run to take a 22-11 lead with 2:18 left. Lily Fabian, who sat for a while in the first half with two fouls while trying to guard Carpenter, caught a Kelsey Duggan pass and let fly from 3-point range for an exclamation point on the run.
"I think we definitely picked up more intensity," said DeVries, who had a game-high 11 points at halftime. "In the beginning, we were all nervous. We were at the Cage, and it's a whole different gym. We kind of settled in and tried to play our normal game."
The halftime score was 29-14. The Mustangs had held Carpenter to two points. VonRuden had a team-high seven for Everett.
"I couldn't give up, and I know the rest of my team couldn't," VonRuden said. "They are a very good team. I think we got down on ourselves a little bit."
The teams played evenly in the third quarter, but Mount Everett made its run in the fourth. Madison Ullrich scored her team's first four points and when Carpenter drained a pair of foul shots, Monson's lead was cut to 45-35. A stop and a score, and it becomes a brand new game.
Aliva Skowyra missed a 3-point shot, but Jalbert pulled down the rebound and scored on the put-back. It was her only hoop of the game, but there might not have been a bigger one.
The Eagles got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
"They were the aggressor today. We did all we could to try to stay with them. That run we had in the second half, like I said to the kids, it was a coaching error on this," Rote said. "Maybe we should have started pressuring up a little harder in the first half. But with kids that were in foul trouble, we were trying to hold on and preserve legs in the second half.
"We tried to get it down inside of double digits. It just didn't happen."
The Eagles have four returning starters, while Van Ruden is a sophomore and Makenzie Ullrich is a freshman.
"It was a tough game, heartbreaking," said Carpenter, one of those four juniors. "But they're a good team. We played them in the third game of the season, and it kind of went the same way."
MOUNT EVERETT (44)
VonRuden 5-3-13, Carpenter 3-6-13, Devoti 2-0-4, Mad. Ullrich 4-2-10, Parsons 0-0-0, Mac. Ullrich 1-0-3, Broderick 0-0-0, Beckwith 0-0-0, Seward 0-1-1. Totals 15-12-44
Jalbert 1-0-2, Fabian 1-0-3, Krupczak 3-4-12, Santos 8-0-18, Garon 0-0-0, DeVries 7-5-19, Skowyra 0-0-0, Duggan 2-0-4. Totals 22-9-58.
Everett 9 5 14 16 — 44
Monson 9 20 14 15 — 58
3-point goals — ME 2 (Carpenter, Mac. Ullrich). M 5 (Santos 2, Krupczak 2, Fabian).
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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